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Antimony plugin

Visual (SBGN) and text-based (Antimony) representations of SBML model in BioUML

Antimony plugin for BioUML 2023.3 aims to combine two representations of mathematical model (particularly - SBML model):

  • visual representation as BioUML Type-diagram-icon.png diagram using extended SBGN notation
  • text-based representation using Antimony language[1].

Plugin allows user to edit model both visually and as text. If visual repesentation is changed - antimony text is updated on the fly.
Text changes are applied to the Type-diagram-icon.png diagram on demand (after pressing "Apply Antimony" button).
Besides model representations syncrhonisation, we also try to presereve user diagram layout as well as antimony text format (spaces, comments, etc.)
Please note: antimony changes will be applied to the Type-diagram-icon.png diagram only after "Apply Antimony" button is pressed. If you change Type-diagram-icon.png diagram before you press this button, all changes in text will be lost!

Scheme for compartment adding via Antimony
Scheme for species adding via Antimony

Features overview

Currently plugin is in beta version, some features of antimony aren't supported. Also we want to achieve full synchronization between antimony and sbml-model in BioUML. And for this purpose we need some additions for the antimony specification.

Supported Antimony features Not supported in current version
  • Creating and removing of species, compartments,
  • Putting nodes into parental compartments,
  • Initial values changing,
  • Creating and removing of reaction with reactants and products,
  • Editing of reaction kinetic laws,
  • Creating, removing and editing of functions,
  • Creating, removing and editing of scalar and rate equations,
  • Declarating species and variables as constants;
  • Declaration "DNA strand definitions" isn't supported,
  • From symbol types, only "species" and "compartment" are supported,
  • Reactions with interactions (inhibition, activation);
Necessary additions in the antimony specification
  • Algebraic rules
  • Distinguishing between initial value and initial assignment with numerical value,
  • Independent management of "constant" and "boundary conditional" attributes,

Composite model

Use model definition or external model for adding subdiagram.
Use parameters of subdiagram or synchronization for adding connection.
Visual (SBGN) and text-based (Antimony) representations of composite model.

In the beta-version plugin new declarations were added for working with composite models. If antimony text contains few models or declarations outside model then this text corresponds to the composite model. Main model will be created and it contains all models like model definitions.

Supported Antimony features Not supported in current version
  • Model definitions,
  • External models,
  • Submodels,
  • Replacing species and parameters from different models;
  • Sign < * > for defining main model,
  • Replacing of elements with more than one level of depth
    Example: s1 is A.B.s2,
  • Replacing of elements other than species and parameters,
  • Replacing of elements with different types,
  • Import models from other collections,
  • "Deletion" attributes,
  • Operating with submodel elements wich are not defined in model definition as ports explicitly;
New elements which we have added in Antimony language
  • Prefix for different type ports:
    • contact: "a",
    • input: ">a",
    • output: "<a";

    Example: model nameModel(a,<b,>c);

Other features

Attributes. Antimony language has been expended for working with element's attributes. String attribute can be specified by declaration: @elementName.attributeName = "value". Some attributes are not displayed in the antimony text, but one is able to choose visible attributes in "Additional properties" (tab Options). List of attributes is split by commas.


  1. Smith, L.P., Bergmann, F.T., Chandran, D. Sauro, M.H. Antimony: a modular model definition language. Bioinformatics, 2009, 25(18): 2452-2454. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btp401

See also

Personal tools

BioUML platform
Analysis & Workflows
Collaborative research
Virtual biology